Students at the University of Houston-Victoria will be equipped to excel in a world that increasingly relies on massive amounts of data collected through digital systems, thanks to a new graduate data science program that will be offered starting in the spring.

The new Master of Science in data science will be offered for the first time by the UHV College of Natural & Applied Science beginning in January.

Students who were pursuing careers in the field of data science previously had the option of pursuing a Master of Science in computer information systems with a concentration in data science.

The new program is a 36 credit-hour degree that will allow students to pursue more intensive learning in data science either in person, online or in hybrid classes.

“The new graduate degree is designed especially for students who are looking for careers in data science and artificial intelligence,” said Hardik Gohel, a UHV assistant professor of computer science and director of the new program. “Data science is an exciting, attractive field for students. There is a need for data science professionals in almost any field, and companies in nearby cities have a wide selection of opportunities available.”

Students in the program will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a variety of applications for data science, including data collection and storage, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

They also will look at tools and methods that are used by industry leaders such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Students also will have the opportunity to pursue internships in the data science field.

Students who earn a degree in data science have a wide range of careers available to them, Gohel said. Some more common roles include data analyst, data engineer, database administrator, machine learning engineer, data scientist, data architect and business analyst. These roles are crucial in multiple industries across society.

“Data science is an increasingly important part of technology in the U.S. and around the world,” said Joann Olson, UHV associate provost for research and dean of graduate studies. “Every industry has a need for data management and other skills that are taught in a data science program. Whether it’s medicine, online shopping, voting statistics, environmental information or more, UHV’s new Master of Science in data science will equip our students to understand how to collect, interpret and use that data.”

For Sergio Campa, a UHV senior from Houston, the new program is exciting news. By offering a data science program, UHV will enable its students to get an edge in a growing field for an affordable tuition price, he said.

“Modern technology creates a massive amount of data, and there’s a worldwide need for professionals who know how to sort, protect and use that data effectively,” Campa said. “This program will be an outstanding addition to UHV’s arsenal.”

Campa will graduate in December with a Bachelor of Science in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity. He had already made plans to attend the University of California, Berkley to get a master’s degree in data science with an emphasis in cybersecurity before UHV’s new program was announced. He became interested in data science because of the many possible uses for data that is collected by modern technology.

“Working with data and finding the best uses for it is similar to a massive puzzle,” he said. “You have to find how the data can be used to cater to the needs of your organization. I’m ecstatic to see UHV is going to offer this to its students, and I’m a little sad that I had already accepted a spot out of state before UHV started its program. This degree will bring UHV’s programs to a whole new level.”

To learn more about the new M.S. in data science, contact Gohel at gohelh@uhv.edu or 361-570-4219.

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